Jamie Robinson loves frogs. Their croaking voices remind him of childhood nights on the farm where he grew up.
So when he was walking past the long-time empty house three doors down from his in Penn Valley a month ago, an unexpected chorus of polliwogs naturally lured him into the backyard.
There he found thousands of frogs stranded in the dilapidated in-ground pool, trying to cling to a half-fallen tarp.
Knowing that most of the frogs that couldn’t reach the tarp were in danger because the amphibians cannot survive in water with no access to land, Robinson ran home and returned with a frog saver, also known as his pool net.
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“Call me the ‘Frog Whisperer,’” said Robinson, laughing. “I don’t know-- I just love frogs. They eat bugs, they're cute, they don’t hurt anyone.”
Saving about 30 frogs that day and freeing them by Mill Creek, Robinson was determined to come back and check on the little Kermits as soon as he came back from a trip.
He kept his promise, only to find that there are frog killers in the neighborhood.
Last Sunday Robinson strolled back to the house on Summit Road to find that the house that's been empty for three years has been sold and someone constructed an intricate frog-killing device over the pool.
The pool was sealed tightly by a tarp and on top of the tarp was metal caging and a grid of two-by-fours nailed together, making it impossible for the thousands of peepers to escape.
“I was furious. Someone wanted to exterminate them and then deal with it later,” said Robinson, 44, of Penn Valley, Pa. “The frogs would have cooked in there and died.”
Although he knew it could be considered an act of vandalism, Robinson stormed home with a “damn the torpedoes!” attitude and returned with a claw hammer, his three children and two nieces. He wanted the kids to see that it’s good to save living things, even if the letter of the law may not approve.
“I told them, ‘This is what’s right and I’ll face the consequences later,’” said Robinson.
His act of civil disobedience included breaking apart some of the two-by-fours and tearing off most of the tarp. While saving the creatures from an immediate death sentence simply by giving them air, he fished out as many as he could and brought them to Mill Creek.
“You shouldn’t be able to mass exterminate thousands of frogs,” said Robinson.
Since Sunday, Robinson has alerted his area commissioner, Mark Taylor, of the environmental problem three doors down. He has also spoken to top management of the PSPCA, who agreed that this was a terrible thing to do. Robinson hopes alerting these authorities will help bring all of the little guys to permanent safety.
Director of PSPCA Law Enforcement George Bengal said Wednesday that he has in fact assigned an officer to the case, and he will be investigating the property Thursday morning. Bengal said that it may be a case where the offenders do not realize that harming wildlife still constitutes as animal cruelty.
"We'll talk to the owner and try to solve the problem together," said Bengal. "If they refuse, they could be facing animal cruelty charges."
The homeowners better shape up. Otherwise they may get an even worse Plague, like boils and blood.